Frontline Diary: Azerbaijan and Baku 2015

Terry Dooley
16/06/2015 8:15pm

Arriving at Azerbaijan airport at 3am in the morning isn’t the best way to begin a Boxing Monthly fact-finding mission ahead of the inaugural 2015 European Games. For starters, you have to purchase a Visa. The task is made especially hard if, say, your passport is almost a decade old and you have had a drastic haircut plus added an Epping Forest-sized amount of hair to your face in the meantime. “This man, he looks nothing like the man before me,” claimed a bemused official when I brandished my old passport plus the photo I had taken the night before to attach to my Visa application. “Are you really him?” he asked, which prompted a brief existential crisis. “Is anyone really anyone at all?” I countered, running the risk of opening up a conversation that could have lasted all night. Whether through tiredness, boredom or both, he eventually stopped staring at me and rubber-stamped my entry into the country.